Share Article:
Fright Night [2011] (Review)

Fright Night [2011] (Review)

A horror-comedy with fangs
Oct 12, 2011
Our Rating:
Your Rating:
click to rate!
VN:F [1.9.12_1141]
(0 votes)
Fright Night
Genre: Comedy, Horror Release Date: 15/9/2011 Runtime: 106 minutes Country: USA, India


Director:   Writer(s): 
Marti Noxon

Tom Holland

Tom Holland

Cast: , , , , ,
Fright Night [2011] (Review), reviewed by Tom Clift on 2011-10-12T12:31:52+00:00 rating 4.0 out of5

Joining Conan the Barbarian and Footloose as the latest B-grade eighties pop cultural touchstones to be remade, the new Fright Night, much like the old, tells the story of a suburban teenager who is flummoxed to learn that his new next-door neighbour is actually a vampire. Scripted by Buffy alum Marti Noxon and directed by Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl), the film is packed with obvious but effective metaphors, plenty of laughs, digs at post Twilight vampirism and a couple of genuine scares. Throw in a great cast delivering performances that range from steadily dramatic to hilarious and unexpected, and Fright Night is a funny, savvy and suspenseful horror-comedy with plenty of entertaining bite.

Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) plays Charley Brewster, a Las Vegas county high-schooler who has recently scored a hot girlfriend (Imogen Poots; 28 Weeks Later) and admittance into the “cool crowd”, something that sees him eager to leave his old friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse; Kick-Ass) and the nerdy adolescence he represents behind him. Charley’s reluctance to hang out with Ed is understandable, especially once Ed becomes convinced that Charley’s new neighbour Jerry (Colin Farrell; In Bruges) is a member of the bloody-sucking undead. But when people around the neighbourhood start to go missing, Charley starts to realise that his old buddy might not be crazy after all.

One of the most delightful things about Fright Night is that it almost immediately does away with the boring old “is he, isn’t he” question. Anyone who buys a ticket to this film obviously knows that Jerry is a vampire, and while it may take some of the characters a while to cotton on, Noxon and Gillespie make it obvious to the audience from the moment Farrell appears on screen. Indeed, one of the funniest things about the movie is how amused Jerry seems that no one in the film can figure out his secret.

It’s a conceit that also gives Gillispie the chance to weave a couple of excellent, suspenseful sequences. An early scene in which a suspicious Charley tests whether Jerry can enter a home uninvited brims with unspoken tension, while a moment in a Las Vegas dance club offers an effective modern day twist on the age old vampirism-as-rape metaphor.

anton yelchin in fright night Fright Night [2011] (Review)

Farrell absolutely relishes the role of Jerry (an ironically terrible vampire name from which much humour is derived), playing the part with the creepy leer of an obvious predator. Combine this performance with his show-stealing turn in Horrible Bosses, and 2011 has been a banner year in the filmography of this underrated Hollywood star.  Special attention must also be given to David Tennant (Doctor Who), who assumes the role of a flashy, leather-pants wearing Vegas magician and vampire hunter – a character with obvious shades of Russel Brand – with brilliantly over-the-top aplomb.

But while it is Farrell and Tenant are given the most opportunity to steal the show, the entire cast does great work. Anton Yelchin is a seriously talented young actor, conveying all the feelings of terror and disbelief that would go along with learning that a guy named Jerry wanted to rip your throat out, not to mention the throats of your mother and girlfriend. These two leading female characters in the film are unfortunately given very little to do — the third act sees one of them unconscious in a hospital, the other a damsel in distress just waiting to be saved. Nevertheless, Imogen Poots and Toni Collette (Signs) as Charley’s single mother are both more than convincing in their somewhat thankless roles. As Ed, Christopher Mintz-Plasse also offers up his usual nerdy shtick, but while we’ve this this performance from him before, there’s no denying he plays the part well.

Martin Noxon’s script is filled with the same blend of genre humour and sincere teenage drama that she brought to episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but perhaps the best decision she makes is setting the film in Las Vegas. A town of transients where people won’t be missed, the city offers the perfect hunting ground for a bloody thirsty killer. Moreover, the inherently artificial quality of the gambling capital of the world somehow seems to justify the utilization of digital gore effects instead of practical ones, and even helps one to accept the slight sheen given to the film by the unnecessary 3D effects.

Be it in two dimensions or three, Fright Night is a bloody bucket-load of fun.

Follow the author Tom Clift on Twitter.

Get daily updates in your inbox!

View by star rating:

Adventures of Tintin, The
- Tom Clift
Read Review
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Review)
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (Review)
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
The Human Centipede Part 2: Full Sequence
Human Centipede Part 2, The: Full Sequence
Happy Feet Two (Review)
Happy Feet Two
▶▶ More movie reviews ◀◀